In our latest Future of Culture meeting—a meeting of an intimate group of People Leaders from companies like TikTok, Ritual, Figma, Daily Harvest, and more—we discussed the impending transition on everyones’ mind: return to work. We chatted in-depth with John Sadow, co-founder of Scoop, a platform to manage hybrid work, all about how companies are approaching culture in an increasingly distributed world.
We had an interesting conversation with plenty of different perspectives. We heard that most people are thinking thoughtfully about the transition to “back to office” — not just about what it means for productivity and workplace efficiency, but also for employee happiness, engagement, and overall company culture.
A blended, hybrid approach is a strong theme.
A hybrid approach to remote work — where some employees are working remotely and some are in-office — are popular. Most culture leaders have found that some employees want to stay working entirely remotely, and that many want the option of going into an office for a day or two a week. For Jenn Cornelius, CPO at Ritual, opting for a hybrid approach has been key. “We have a strong belief that our headquarters in LA are a cultural center for us … but we’re leaning into employee choice.”
Workers feel unclear on whether hybrid work will be equally offered.
In companies moving to a hybrid model of work, many employees feel either neutral (25%) or less than confident (28.2%) that their employer will offer hybrid work equally and fairly, according to a Scoop survey. In these situations, more clarity and transparency may be needed on companies' promises on hybrid work.
Companies are outgrowing their offices.
Many growing companies have outgrown their office space. With so many hires since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, offices often don’t have enough space. A plan that allows for hybrid work has ensured that this limited capacity can still work.
Many companies are giving employees the autonomy to decide where they want to work. While there may be some constraints with particular roles, giving employees some degree of choice over where they work is popular. In a survey by Scoop, 60% of people would rather look for a new job or take a pay cut then come back to the office full time if it was required of them.
In-office covid protocols are ever-evolving, and vaccines are key.
With the ongoing changes in the pandemic, offices are being flexible and are changing protocols to respond to updated news. Preventative measures such as mandatory vaccinations, COVID-testing, masks, and other safety protocols are often in place for employees who choose to return to the office.
In short, it’s looking like “back to office” is less about returning to the way things were. For more and more companies, it’s a new era defined by an entirely different approach to work. This time of transition is an opportunity to reevaluate the way that we’re working, and design something with real benefits for employee flexibility and wellbeing — all with culture at the forefront.